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Channel crossings, migration and asylum-seeking routes through the EU inquiry

6 August 2020

The Home Affairs Committee has launched a new inquiry to examine the reasons behind the increase in small boat crossings across the Channel.

In 2018, fewer than 500 people were detected to have entered the UK by small boat across the Channel. In 2020, more than 2000 people were reported to have entered the country through this route by June.

The inquiry will examine the reasons behind the growth in migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats. It will look at the role of criminal gangs in facilitating the growth of this form of illegal immigration and the response of UK and French authorities to combat illegal migration and support legal routes to asylum.

The Committee will also investigate the conditions experienced by people gathered in Northern France seeking to enter the UK. This will include the risk to life when attempting to cross the Channel, the world's busiest waterway, in small boats and the response of UK authorities when they reach the UK, in particular unaccompanied children.

Terms of reference

The Home Affairs Committee invites submissions on the following issues:

  • Reasons behind the increase in irregular or illegal channel crossings, including economic and political drivers
  • Actions taken by French and UK government personnel to reduce the risk to life for migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats
  • The legal position of migrants crossing the English Channel and the obligations of UK and French authorities and other parties to ensure their safety under UK and International (Maritime) Law
  • Actions taken by the French and UK governments to identify, apprehend and prosecute criminals involved in the traffic of migrants across the English Channel and determine the financial gains being made from human trafficking
  • Future arrangements for safe, legal routes for family reunion and claiming asylum in the UK, and the effectiveness of current Government initiatives to re-unite families
  • Conditions in migrant camps in France and other states such as Italy and Greece
  • The care provided for unaccompanied children arriving in the UK.

The Committee wants to hear your views. It welcomes submissions from anyone with answers to the questions in the terms of reference. More information about how to submit evidence is available here.

The deadline for written submissions is 12 noon on Monday 14 September 2020.

Further information

Image: apasciuto-flickr-Creative-Commons